The quality of the players Chelsea have out on loan is well known, and they will face a tough job keeping hold of Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois this summer in particular, with both shining for Werder Bremen and Atletico Madrid respectively.
Both are also part of Belgium’s impressive international set up, and started the World Cup Qualification match in Macedonia on Friday night. Courtois was picked in goal ahead of Simon Mignolet, who has excellent for Sunderland this season, whilst De Bruyne joined Hazard as part of the attack behind Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke.
Six of the starting eleven were in fact regular Premier League starters, but it was the two on loan from Chelsea who stood out in the 2-0 victory. Belgium were not at their best, especially in the first half, and had Courtois not made a string of fine saves they would perhaps have ended up dropping points in Skopje. Hazard himself praised the on loan keeper for his contribution after the match.
In the 26th minute, Kevin De Bruyne gave his side the lead by winning the ball form the opposition and cutting in to score. The 21 year old was once again tireless, in fact according to German paper Bild he has covered more ground than anyone else in the Bundesliga this season, and delivered a consummate performance that suggests Chelsea have to give him a chance in the side next season.
Hazard was himself on good form, and sealed the victory with a second half penalty. He will no doubt report back to Chelsea that they have to be thinking very seriously about ensuring they keep Courtois and De Bruyne on their books, as both look capable of becoming stand out players in European football in the next few seasons.
It will not be easy, with Courtois looking to displace Cech and De Bruyne competing with several excellent players in his position. But based on this season a case could be made that De Bruyne would have been more useful to the Blues than Marko Marin and Victor Moses in particular, and he should be given a chance in the first team next year.
image: © wshjackson